[Introduction: The following are deleted scenes from ‘Chuck vs. the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Really Bad Day’, Chapter 14, which was titled ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. At this point in the story, the Ring has freed all previously incarcerated Fulcrum agents, who are now hunting Chuck. One of the trusted operatives protecting him almost succeeded in whisking him out of the country, and a panicked Beckman sends Sarah off to keep watch over him at a remote location – oblivious to the fact that, secretly, Sarah and Chuck are already a couple. And while Sarah would like nothing better than to hole up with Chuck in for a few days of R&R, she realizes there might be a way to remove the threat to Chuck completely if she undertakes a risky mission under the radar. But that requires her to do something she really doesn’t want to do: Leave Chuck’s protection to his most recent rescuer: Jill Roberts. As we pick up the story, Chuck and Jill are travelling across country to insert themselves into Sarah’s mission, and as usual, Jill has ulterior motives…]
This segment is rated ‘T’, using Fanfiction.net’s rating scheme.
Part One – Dinner in NY
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Garden City, NY – Five hours before Sarah’s leap
“I hear the porterhouse steak is very good here,” Jill offered, her tone light.
“Hah,” Chuck smirked, “what is that, like two pounds of beef?”
The corners of her lips began to curl upwards. She looked over the part of him she could see above the table.
“You look pretty lean to me,” she teased, “I think you could handle it.”
Chuck grinned back at her, but then he remembered their circumstances. It was so easy to fall into old habits. He let his smile fade in small, apologetic hitches. “I think,” he quipped, “that eating steaks that size turns slender, nimble spies into fat, slow ones.”
Jill frowned. “Is that how you think of yourself now, Chuck? As a spy?”
He looked down at the menu, evading her stare. The question Jill had asked was something he’d been torturing himself with ever since he’d re-implanted the Intersect. While he felt the potential of his new capabilities, he also knew firsthand that spies accepted a lifestyle he was ill-suited for.
“I’m only asking because,” she continued, “I’d always hoped you’d resist what the government wanted to do to you. What they’d try to change you into.” Chuck looked up into a face that was genuinely sympathetic, and suddenly feeling very self-conscious, he snapped his attention back to the menu. Staring into those eyes was dangerous.
“I’m doing fine,” he said, half convincingly.
She huffed. “Yeah, I can see that’s true,” she said sarcastically. “Look, Chuck, even back at Stanford, I knew that the spy world I was being pulled into would destroy someone like you. It’s what let me do what I did to you. It’s what allowed me to let you go.” She put her hand on his arm.
Chuck tensed at her touch. “You know, it turns out that I’m actually somewhat good at all this spy stuff,” he said defiantly.
“Who told you that?” Jill exclaimed. “Chuck, I’m not the world’s best spy, but I was able to get Leader inside your base. And… I can still kick your ass any day of the week!” she said, jokingly.
Chuck’s face fell, the memory of her betrayals and his misjudgments blooming fresh in his mind. His inner voice popped a response into his head and, still stinging from Jill’s rebuke, he blurted it out.
“I caught you, didn’t I?”
Only after he said it did he realize, much to his surprise, that the inner voice he’d heard was not his own, but Sarah’s. He shook his head at the novelty.
Jill’s brow furrowed for a moment, but then she switched gears abruptly and picked up her menu. “Hey, remember our first real date back at Stanford?” she asked, cheerfully. He nodded back at her, allowing her escape to a friendlier topic.
As she prattled on through their shared history, Chuck tuned her out, thinking back instead to her playful boast. Jill seemed to have no concerns over his new capabilities, and now he was beginning to understand why. She still thought he was the physically helpless guy from their encounter with Uncle Bernie. Orion, apparently, hadn’t told her anything about Intersect 2.0.
She really had no idea what he could do.
This segment is rated ‘T’, using Fanfiction.net’s rating scheme.
Part Two – After Dinner Trials
La Quinta Inn, Garden City, NY – Three hours before Sarah’s leap
Chuck lay on the far bed watching TV when Jill came out of the bathroom. Although he glanced over at her for just a second, he recognized the old Stanford t-shirt immediately. She used to wear it to bed all the time when they were together, and knowing Jill, it was no accident that she was wearing it again tonight.
Pausing beside the TV, she raised her arms above her head to towel her hair dry. The motion pulled the hem of her t-shirt above her hips and exposed a crescent of bare midriff above her panties. Looking skyward with her eyes shut, she tossed her long brown hair behind her in waves as she wrapped the towel around her head.
Chuck watched, transfixed. He knew he shouldn’t, but some combination of eidetic fascination, travel exhaustion, and perhaps the wine at dinner all conspired to weaken his resolve. She was doing this on purpose, he knew. But he couldn’t deny one simple, unadulterated fact.
Jill was a beautiful girl.
Her eyes snapped open as if she’d heard his thoughts and when she caught him looking, she smiled – a victory smile. Like many times before, in her success Chuck felt diminished, weakened. The loser in a contest he hadn’t realized he was competing in. It was a disconcerting feeling that gave him just enough impetus to look back at the TV.
“We need to get up early,” she explained, sauntering between the beds to set the shared alarm clock. “We’ve got to get you a tux and me a nice dress and still leave enough time to make it to Montauk by 4:30.” In the warm breeze of her passage, Chuck inhaled a potent mix of mint shampoo, lilac scented skin cream and… well, the rest was just her.
He breathed it in despite himself, the unique aroma unlocking his defenses and bombarding him with the powerful remembrances he’d been holding off all night. Reminders of a time when their future together had seemed so certain – a time when an evening like this would have ended a lot differently.
The temptation he felt was like a physical force pulling him to her side of the room. There was no doubt in his mind that it was what she wanted. She’d lift the covers and accept him into her bed. And it would be like it was before, all those years ago. Or, was it just eight months ago? His heartbeat thudded loudly in his ears.
Chuck took a deep breath, and with a determined motion turned off the TV and reading light, rolling deliberately onto his left side to face away from her. There was no way he was going to let her see the conflict in his face or the lust in his treasonous heart. This wasn’t Jill, his girlfriend from Stanford. This was Jill, the former Fulcrum agent and trained operative. He let his eyes drift closed and took evenly-spaced breaths.
Without fanfare, her own light switched off, plunging the room into darkness.
Minutes passed, each of them wrestling with their own thoughts. Finally, Jill broke the silence.
“Chuck?” Her voice was soft, tentative.
He briefly considered staying silent, but he didn’t think she’d let it go. “Yeah?”
“I’m tired of all… this,” she said. “When we’re done here, I’m going to try and leave it all behind and disappear. I think I’d like to start over from where things went bad back at Stanford. Just erase the last few years like they never happened.” She paused. “Do you think your dad could do that for me?”
“I’m pretty sure he can,” Chuck replied.
There was a longer pause.
“Maybe… you’d want that too?” Jill ventured, nervously.
The silence in the room stretched out interminably. Just when Chuck started to think she’d let it go, she called out his name, plaintively. Like a lamb lost among the wolves, needing his rescue. It was his weakness and Jill knew that far too well.
With his eyes tightly closed, Chuck fought to hold off the vision she’d conjured up in his head, the one where he’d shed his spy life with its lies, deception and danger, and escape with her (and with his dad’s help) back into a normal existence. A reboot of his life from where it had crashed, patched up with a new job, old girlfriend and renewed hope for the future. A do-over.
It was a seductive dream. But it wasn’t real, and the more Chuck thought about it the more it turned yellow and withered at its edges. Even if his father could hide them, they’d never feel safe. Ellie and Devon could never hide with them. Just trying to do so would destroy their careers, their marriage, and maybe even their lives. Inside his head was a volatile and dangerous Intersect, one that powerful organizations would never stop searching for and one he had little confidence he could keep innocents safe from. And even if none of those things were true, there was always the biggest reason of all.
He simply didn’t love Jill anymore.
He cared for her. He’d never stop trying to protect her. And sure, there was obviously a part of him that was still physically attracted to her. But when he thought about who he really loved, it wasn’t Jill’s face that came to his mind. It hadn’t been for a long time.
As if summoned by his heart, the beautiful blonde filled his vision, sweeping away the wilted dream and calming his mind. She was just as she’d been the night before, when he’d learned the truth about her mission. She’d lain in his arms after they’d made up, and he’d held her until the last possible moment, when even one additional minute might mean a missed plane. At the door, she’d tried to tell him how she felt, her lips forming shapes for the words that wouldn’t seem to come.
“Me too,” Chuck said out loud, echoing the words he’d said to her then; the words meant to answer what she was doubtlessly trying to tell him, the ones meant to rescue her from her frustrating struggle. She’d smiled up at him, adoringly, and placed a last, soft kiss on his lips before hurrying down the hallway with only a fleeting backward glance.
“Okay, good.” Jill said with relief, and it took Chuck a moment to understand what he’d just done.
Rated ‘T’ (for ‘tame’ in this case)
Part Three – A Web of Lies
La Quinta Inn, Garden City, NY – 4:37AM EST
Jill popped awake immediately, the faint vibration from her cell on the bedside table as loud as a jackhammer in her ears. She grabbed it and, looking over her shoulder to make sure Chuck hadn’t awoken, made her way to the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
The conversation with Orion did not go well. He was having second thoughts after talking with Chuck in Medford. Maybe it had been a mistake, he said. Perhaps he’d underestimated Chuck’s determination to become a spy and the feelings he had for his blonde protector.
No, she told him. Chuck’s feelings for Agent Walker were a mistake – he hadn’t yet discovered who she really was. But she’d show him, soon enough, with her actions on the yacht. Jill was certain there’d be blood on Walker’s hands, and Chuck would be there to see it. And when he did, Jill would be right there to console him. It was all part of her plan.
Orion remained unsure about Jill’s tactics. He was nervous about the risk to Chuck, with him being so close to the lion’s den. That was until she revealed the one thing she’d been holding back – that Chuck had agreed to escape from the government, with her, and with Orion’s help. But only after he’d made sure Sarah was safe. Jill held her breath, the lie burning on her lips.
Orion was quiet for a long time afterward, with nothing but the sound of breathing coming from his side of the line. “Fine,” he said at last, and terminated the call.
Jill sat in the dark, feeling the room constricting around her. This plan had to work. For both her and Chuck’s sakes, she had to make it work.
Part Four – Sunset and Subversion
Deck 2 forward, Majestic – 6:24PM EST
They held their plates while they ate, careful not to knock their drinks off the handrail as they watched the harbor recede in the distance. The sun had already set and new pinpoints of light appeared all along the coast as homes and businesses prepared for the evening.
“What are you doing, Chuck?” Jill said, cryptically.
“What do you mean?” Chuck replied.
She gave him a disapproving frown. “Why are you helping the government when all they’re doing is destroying your life?”
Chuck looked at her briefly, then turned back to stare out at the ocean. He didn’t say anything.
“I mean,” Jill continued, “they tell you where you have to live, what you have to do for a living, who you have to be with. They force you to do their missions and they watch you constantly.” She turned back to the rail and took a long, deep breath. “Which pretty much describes how I was treated by Fulcrum.”
Chuck turned to face her. “It’s not the same,” he said with sudden conviction. “Don’t think that I can’t tell the difference between the people I work for and Fulcrum. I’ve dealt with you people directly.”
Jill’s face reddened at his recrimination.
“One of you threatened to kill my sister in front of me, and another strapped me to a chair and force fed me their beta Intersect to see if it would kill me. Casey and Sarah would never do those things. They’ve saved my life countless times.”
“Chuck, I’m not Fulcrum anymore, you have to believe me,” she said, in a disheartened tone.
A short time passed where they both silently looked out at the waves.
At some point, Jill could no longer stand the silence. “Honestly, though, this isn’t what you would be doing if you weren’t forced to, right? Can you at least admit that?” she asked.
Chuck stood still, but his clenched jaw was a sufficient answer for Jill.
“Because I think what’s really going on here is not that you’ve suddenly developed a taste for government service. I think you just can’t bear the thought of leaving her.”
Chuck sighed and took a deep breath. He thought back to the moment he’d re-implanted the Intersect. With Bryce dead, Sarah would’ve been forced to go it alone or take on an unfamiliar partner. It pained him to even think of it.
But there was more to it than that. Despite his great relief at having the original Intersect removed from his brain, it had been short-lived. By the next day he already had the nagging feeling that something was wrong. That there was something missing. That it was all some kind of mistake.
When Sarah told him that she was moving on with the Intersect project, he’d felt the full weight of that mistake crushing him. The spy world he’d so desperately wanted to leave behind no longer felt like purgatory and the ‘normal’ world he’d longed to return to suddenly seemed like a hollow vessel. To go back to it now even with Sarah at his side gave him pause. But without her…
In the Intersect room he’d hesitated before placing his hand on the activation pad, but deep down he knew what he had to do. Fate had granted him the opportunity to fix his mistake. He could put the pieces back into place.
This life, the one that Bryce had forced upon him and the one he’d resisted outwardly for so long, was no longer the life he wished to escape.
It was the life he chose to pursue.
Chuck exhaled visibly and focused his thoughts back on the present. “We still have to find Sarah.”
Jill’s expression sank and she looked up at the darkening sky. “I’m sure she knows exactly what she’s doing.”
[ The chapter these scenes were excised from can be found here. ]